Important Note on the History of SEO

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When discussing the history of Search Engine Optimization, it is important to remember that search engines are an ever-evolving technology.

As a result, the algorithms that search engines use to rank Web sites in their indices are constantly evolving. This means that the history of SEO is always changing and webmasters must continually adapt to these changes.

Many of the techniques that are discussed on this Web site as a means to boost search engine rankings are relevant today - but might me completely outdated two years from now. Additionally, some of these practices might not have yielded positive results just two years ago.

Search Engines - The Early Days

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Search engines first emerged in the early 1990's and were essentially what are known as directories today. The early search engines simply required webmasters to submit their link and the engines would display complete lists of Web sites based on the category they fit into.

As the number of Web sites on the Internet continued to increase, these early search engines became increasingly unwieldy and hard to use. Thus, search engines began developing the earliest algorithms to determine which sites would be most helpful for specific topics.

In 1998, a man named Larry Page revolutionized the search engine industry, creating a formula that relied on determining the relative strength of a Web site based on the number of links to it from other Web sites. Called PageRank, Page's method helped to form the basis for the foundation of search engine giant Google.

Search Engines - Modern Day

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Page's creation of a system that relied less on webmaster-submitted information made it very difficult to manipulate search engine rankings. This greatly increased the effectiveness of search engines in providing relevant sites when users search for certain keywords or phrases.

In addition, Google quickly became one of the most popular ways to easily find information on the Internet. While PageRank was the primary factor in determining where a Web site ranked on sites like Google in the early days, algorithms have become increasingly complex and now rely on a host of factors.

Search engines also are very careful to guard their algorithms so that they cannot be manipulated by "black hat" SEO, or artificially-boosted Web site rankings. However, Google and other search engines also provide webmasters with some of their ranking criteria in order that webmasters with good content can help their Web site rank well on search engines.

Several of these techniques will be discussed on this Web site. In addition, experienced webmaster Mike Herchel has provided some useful pointers and key aspects that can be used to help webmasters improve their visibility on search engines.